Best known for her viral geometric henna designs, Dubai raised chiropractor-turned-artist Dr. Azra expands on her visual storytelling through an exclusive capsule collection with Les Benjamins. Lamia Al-Otaishan Aydın who is Head of Design at Les Benjamins; underlines that “Sharing inspiring ideas!” is the key for her. The collection that mirrors the East-meets-West synergy that encompasses both the brand and Azra herself. Opening about the meaning and inspiration behind the collection, Azra says “Launching the ‘Peace in the Middle East’ collection during Ramadan is a reminder that for some people, this month isn’t easy nor is it peaceful. I hope and pray that this changes, inshallah”.

What is the story behind the collab?

Lamia: It was us having a conversation and connecting, the energy was very aligned, and we decided to go with the collaboration.

What is the starting point of the collection?

Lamia: Sharing inspiring ideas! 

Dr. Azra: Meeting and connecting to see how we can bring our two worlds together.

What the word “fashion” means to you?

Dr. Azra: Fashion is a way to express myself, it means comfort, modesty, and beautiful fabrics.

What made you decide to work on contemporary patterns with henna?

Dr. Azra: A need to change the narrative, to update the designs that were forced upon us through outdated social norms. 

What is the philosophy behind the collection?

Dr. Azra: It is to remember others, to share a message of peace and love wherever we go, to be kind and caring.

What role does the cultural heritage of the Middle East play in your life?

Lamia: I mean it’s where I am from, it’s important to embrace it while being proud, always.

Dr. Azra: A huge role, it’s our people and livelihood. 

We see that saying on the looks; “Peace in the Middle East” what is the idea behind it?

Dr. Azra: The henna design that the collection was inspired by was created a couple years back, and it was inspired by Palestine, to remember them and their struggle and to keep fighting for them.

How would you describe the youth of Middle East?

Dr. Azra: They are very active, modern, hungry, and fun!

Lamia: Very creative, hardworking and they have ALOT to show to the world which makes me very proud and happy.

What would you say about today’s fashion?

Dr. Azra: There are a lot of changes in fashion happening all the time, Covid played a huge role in lifestyle changes and with those changes there have been a lot in fashion too. People want comfort, authenticity, and honesty. 

Interview by : Duygu Bengi
Photography: Omar Shahinhindi